Thursday, 21 October 2010

Lib Dems - They don't like it up em!

Seeing a Lib Dem motion to Kirklees congratulating the Coalition Govt on it's commitment to tackling climate change was somewhat annoying having seen cut after cut in energy programmes and broken promises associated with the new feed in tariff. So the Green Party Amendment listed many of these and annoyed the Lib Dems because of the length of the amendment but then there were a lot of cuts and broken promises. They also claimed the amendment was inaccurate but never really identified exactly what was inaccurate about it. There was an inaccuracy in the amendment. It said that funding for the Green Investment Bank had been scaled down from £6Billion to £2 Billion. Following the Spending Review yesterday this figure went down to £1Billion. Our apologies!

The focus of the Lib Dem motion was the new right for Councils to sell renewable electricity they generate back to the grid and this is indeed welcome but there are a few 'howevers'. One particular 'however' is the fact that a promise to extend the Feed In Tariff to early adopters of renewable technologies such as pioneers like Kirklees has now been dropped by the Coalition government. This means that thousands of  pounds worth of funds that could have come to Kirklees now will not. The Lib Dems called for a Green Energy Action Plan to take advantage of the Feed In Tariffs. At no point in the debate did they mention the programmes already being planned such as the £650k worth of PV for Council Buildings or the £12 million for Council buildings, probably because they've had nothing to do with it. You can imagine however that a few months down the line a Lib Dem leaflet will appear somehow linking themselves with these developments. They do have some form in this regard. They poured scorn on the Green Party amendments for a free area based solar photovoltaic programme across Kirklees saying it was 'unaffordable' and a 'fantasy'. They are clearly not following developments in the capital financing of PV projects across the country where all the capital costs and more of the projects are being met by the feed in tariff. Indeed businesses are being set up seemingly weekly offering free PV. A Council led scheme could offer value for money and spread the benefit to households beyond those which are dead on due south with large roofs.

Anyway for your delectation here is the Lib Dem Motion and the Green Amendment. For the record the Green amendment was defeated by the Cons and Lib Dems but was supported by many Labour Cllrs. The Lib Dem motion was passed.

Lib Dem motion

Coalition Government's Commitment to Tackling Climate Change

This Council congratulates the Coalition Government for their positive commitment to tackling climate change.

Council welcomes the decision by the Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne to allow local councils to sell renewable energy to the grid, overturning a ban on this activity by the previous Government.

Council recognises that we have a vital role to play in the switch to a new low carbon economy. This decision will allow us to take full advantage of the feed-in tariff and deliver long term benefits to support services delivered by this council.

The availability of feed in tariffs will provide this council with an opportunity to generate a significant income and reduce our energy bills via increased micro generation.

This Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet to urgently develop a “Green Energy Action Plan” to maximise the benefits and identify potential savings that can be delivered via the use of feed-in tariffs.

Green Party Amendment

Delete all after ‘This Council’ insert

‘questions the Coalition Government’s commitment to tackling climate change based on:-

• the breaking of a promise by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats prior to the election to include early adopters of solar panels such as Kirklees in the Feed In Tariff

• the abolition of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy which would have provided strong policies to encourage microgeneration in new buildings.

• the breaking of a commitment by the Liberal Democrats not to support new nuclear power stations the cost of which will now be borne by the public.

• the end of a commitment by the previous government to insulate all lofts and cavity walls where technically possible to 2020.

• the abolition of the Sustainable Development Commission which actually saved the Government money.

• Cuts of £12.6m from The Carbon Trust's grant for low carbon technology and business support funding from DECC

• Cuts of £4.7m by cancelling final rounds of Bio-Energy Capital Grants Scheme and Bio-Energy Infrastructure Scheme

• Cuts of £3m by reducing the scope of the Offshore Wind Capital Grants Scheme

• Cuts of £3m from closing the Low Carbon Buildings Programme early

• £2.9m cuts by reducing the scope of the government's Low Carbon Technology Programme

• £1m cut to funding for development of deep geothermal energy generation

• £700,000 cut by the closing of renewable technology trials early

• The damage caused to the solar thermal, biomass and heat pump industry by the long period of speculation over the future of the Renewable Heat Incentive

• The damage caused to the solar PV and small wind industry by long speculation over the future of the Feed In Tariff

• The reported reduction in the Feed In Tariff by 10%

• The halving in funding for Carbon Capture and Storage Projects

• The reduction in funding from the proposed £6Billion to £2 Billion for the Green Investment Bank

• The proposed abolition of the Warm Front scheme for Low Income households

• The 10% increase in funding for nuclear decommissioning

• The cancelling of the Severn Barrage which could have provided 5% of the UK's electricity needs

This Council has the following concerns about the Coalition Government’s ‘Green Deal’

• An over emphasis on supermarkets as the deliverer of the Green Deal when clearly Council schemes such as the free insulation provided by Kirklees Council demonstrably deliver high numbers of measures while schemes lead by supermarkets have performed poorly.

• The reported omission of microgeneration from the Green Deal finance package

• A loan mechanism will not be the most cost effective way of funding low cost measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation.

This Council calls on the Coalition Government to ensure the Green Deal

• makes Councils a key partner and/or deliverer of the programme.

• enables area based approaches for the delivery of insulation and microgeneration measures

• has a cost effective way of delivering low cost measures such as insulation measures

This Council calls on the Cabinet to

• develop a free area based solar photovoltaic programme to be made available to all households where technically possible and where there is no impact on Council budgets.

• Add carbon reduction as a 5th Council Priority

• Develop a comprehensive action plan to reduce carbon which based including energy conservation, energy efficiency, behavioral change and green energy.

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